Former Joliet mayor files federal lawsuit in Northern District of Illinois against city, 7 others

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk speaks at the Houbolt Road bridge ribbon-cutting ceremony. April 27, 2023.

Fewer than three months after leaving office, former Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit naming the city, its former police chief and several others as defendants.

Former Herald-News Editor Joseph Hosey and Shaw Media were among the named defendants in the case filed in the Northern District of Illinois.

The lawsuit’s claims closely mirror allegations made in a March Joliet inspector general report alleging misconduct that included top-ranking Joliet police officials filing a false report to discredit the former mayor. O’Dekirk lost his re-election bid to Mayor Terry D’Arcy weeks after the report was released and became an issue in the race.

Among other things, the federal lawsuit asserts that retired Joliet Police Chief Al Roechner, his deputy chief Marc Reid and several others pressured former Joliet council member Don “Duck” Dickinson into filing the report against O’Dekirk. The lawsuit also names Reid, Joliet council member Pat Mudron, former Joliet council member Jim McFarland and Nancy Roechner, Al Roechner’s wife, as defendants.

The former mayor in the federal lawsuit alleges, among other things, that his civil rights were violated by the defendants.

Joliet City Council members in March said there was not enough in the inspector general report to reprimand or censure Mudron. A few, including Mudron, challenged the findings in the report when meeting publicly with Sean Connolly, the city’s inspector general who wrote the report.

“That’s the first I heard about it,” Mudron said of the federal lawsuit after being contacted Wednesday by The Herald-News. “I don’t have any comment at this time.”

McFarland did not have an immediate comment and Hosey declined comment. The Roechners were unable to be reached for comment.

“We haven’t seen it yet,” Joliet Deputy City Attorney Chris Regis said, adding the city typically does not comment on pending litigation.